Review: ★★ Grotty, The Bunker

Grotty explores the lesbian scene in London from Soho to Dalston. We follow Rigby (Izzy Teenyson) during what seems to be just a very long monologue. The entire play revolves around her point of view and nobody challenges it. There is little to no sense of drama here. It certainly wants to be provocative, but lacks substance.

Toad (Rebekah Hinds) and the Witch (Grace Chilton) interrupt Rigby at times but without much purpose. It seems to use shock for the sake of it, insulting Toad and portraying the Witch as a dark and twisted tattoo artist who only seems to be interested in strap-ons and dog collars. Both characters return often but add little. The same goes for everyone else who joins in – Natty (Anita-Joy Uwajeh) and Rigby’s mother (Clare Gollop); we are not entirely sure how essential they are. All the characters are underdeveloped; it could be about any group of friends, at any bar and on any given Wednesday chatting away but it’s nothing to write home about, let alone the backbone of a play. An attempt is made to explore loneliness and depression, for example, but again it is too superficial to really take anything from it. 

Rigby’s movement and mannerism are over the top throughout and we are left wondering if there was a real need for it in the first place. Is it supposed to make us feel uncomfortable? Do we need such an exaggeration to understand she is awkward and not quite sure where and how she fits in this world?

Otherwise, the performances are watchable and Hinds, Chilton and Uwajeh take on different characters who are quite distinct and, given the limitations of the play, quite convincing, but it could be a lot more compelling to watch if they were showing the audience the emotional and physical aspects of the scenes instead of telling it. There is definitely some humour here – the audience recognises stories and places and laughs at times, but while it is fast paced it is difficult to stay interested throughout. 

Grotty runs at The Bunker until May 26th.


Emma Betty
Emma Betty

Emma Betty is 28 and a nurse in Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Emma has the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Soundtrack (On CD!) to blame for her love for Musical Theatre, which she found in her parents living room pretty much as soon as she was old enough to know what it was. She began combining her love for Theatre, the Internet and Writing while she was still at school, through various blogs and on social media. Having moved to London in 2013, she launched Upper Circle 4 years later. A couple of years on, she is delighted to have a small team and is so grateful to those helping Upper Circle to grow every day!

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